Discover The Plot
The average plot is constructed around three basic elements:
- 1.Conflict. Something happens to disturb the status quo.
- 2.Character response and evolution – the character may be strengthened in their resolve, or they may change.
- 3.Resolution of conflict.
Sometimes we begin with a very clear idea of 1 and/or 3, but only a hazy idea about our characters and their environment. Sometimes the reverse happens – a character or a place grabs our attention then gradually begins to tell us their story. Whatever our starting point – plot or character, the narrative process should gradually unfold as a complex interaction between the two. Plot cannot work where its demands go against the nature of the characters. Characters become uninteresting and lose their authenticity if tailored to fit the demands of the plot. Both storyline and characters can seem to assume a life of their own at times, suddenly taking unexpected turns ‘all by themselves’.
Once we are aware of these processes we can make them work for us, so that we can follow a plot as it develops, rather than struggle to think what should happen next.
WHOSE STORY IS IT ANYWAY?
When characters and/or setting are vague we can get to know them better by using various ways of ‘tuning in’. When characters and/or setting develop first, they can help us to discover the plot. The following guided visualisations help to enhance character-plot interaction. They can be used to develop a new plot, or to work on a current one.
Tape all three sets of instructions first with appropriate pauses (as in Chapter 2).
- If this is new work, choose a character from your tarot pack, writer’s notebook, or your surroundings, and spend some time tuning in to them.
- If you wish to work on a current project, let one of the main characters come into your mind. Take some time to reacquaint yourself fully with this character before proceeding to the exercise.
- Have your writing materials near to hand or
- Respond aloud to the questions. Record the whole journey, including your responses, on a second tape-recorder.